Scilly’s Healthwatch Reports On Successful Year

Carol Clarke from Healthwatch

Carol Clarke from Healthwatch

Scilly’s health watchdog Healthwatch has completed its annual report and the organisation is citing a number of successes on behalf of the islands’ patients and adult social care users.

They were asked to provide evidence on the difficulties of medical travel, to support the funding request for the Land’s End runway hardening.

Manager Carol Clarke says they’ve been told that their input was “invaluable” in ensuring the review of that funding by the EU was successful.

Healthwatch also stepped in when women who had given birth were told that they had to leave St Mary’s hospital soon after delivery.

Previously they could stay the night but as the midwifery service is operated by RCHT and the hospital is now operated by Peninsula Community Health, new mums faced being sent home at times which would present challenges, especially for off-islanders.

Carol said it was simply a case of Healthwatch “asking the right people the right questions” to get them to talk to each other and come up with a solution.

They also helped stop mainland policy being applied to Scilly’s ambulance service. In Cornwall the South West Ambulance Service Trust now deals with emergencies and a separate provider takes patients home from hospital appointments.

Carol convinced NHS bosses that finding an addition service provider didn’t make sense here.

She says in both cases it took a third party, Healthwatch, to point out the problem.

A number of islanders have voiced concern about proposed changes within Park House, which include closing the kitchen and replacing the in-house catering with an external contractor.

Carol says Healthwatch have had no formal complaints and they’ll take on board any comments over those plans.

But she added that in a small unit like Park House, with friendly and accessible staff, relatives and carers should take any complaints to the care home’s managers.

Carol says feedback to Healtwatch has increased.

Their annual survey generated 2,000 comments and, by April this year, they had received the same number of comments that they’d achieved throughout the whole of 2013.

Carol says they have a well thought through policy on how they receive, log and use feedback and they’ve also visited the off-islands to ensure the views of those residents are captured.

Most of the Healthwatch board want to stand for another year but Carol says she’s keen to hear from any potential new recruits ahead of their AGM on September 11th.

You can pick up a copy of the annual report from their Thorofare office or on their website here.